Before and After image of deviated septum

5 Signs You May Have a Deviated Septum

No nose is perfect. In fact, most of us have noses that are slightly crooked and could benefit from deviated septum surgery (septoplasty)—a procedure where the center of the nose, or septum, is straightened and aligned.

You’ve surely seen people with severely curved noses. They’re obvious candidates for deviated septum surgery. Yet many of us have deviated septums and that condition can lead to trouble breathing and sleeping and is often related to the potentially life-threatening condition of sleep apnea.

Read: What is Sleep Apnea?

Here are 5 symptoms of a deviated septum. Not all people with a deviated septum will experience these symptoms. However, if you recognize these symptoms, our ear, nose and throat doctors in Salt Lake City can diagnose and treat your deviated septum.

Deviated Septum Symptom #1: Difficulty Breathing

A misaligned septum makes it more difficult for air to pass through the nostrils and into your lungs. As a result, you may encounter trouble breathing—especially when you have a cold or allergies. Those conditions make your nasal passages swell and narrow, which further constrains your ability to breathe.

Deviated Septum Symptom #2: Regular Nose Bleeds

In some patients, a deviated septum leads to regular nosebleeds. That’s because the curvature of the septum creates turbulence as air passes through the nostril. Think about your septum like the hood of a car or an airline wing. The more aerodynamic the surface area, the more easily air passes past the septum (or the wing of an airplane). In noses, the more turbulence on the septum, the drier it becomes and that can lead to a bloody nose.

Deviated Septum Symptom #3: Frequent Sinus Infections or Cold Symptoms

A clogged airway or impaired breathing through your nose often leads to sinus infections, post-nasal drip or what many people simply term “common cold” symptoms. If medicines do not help cure your sinus infections or nasal drip, you should seek help from an otolaryngologist.

Deviated Septum Symptom #4: Facial Pain and Headaches

People with a deviated septum feel “clogged up.” That can lead to headaches and facial pain. In some cases, facial and nose pain is caused by the nasal septum actually contacting the outside wall of your nose. Obviously, that’s a severely deviated septum and one that merits an exam by a trained ENT doctor.

Deviated Septum Symptom #5: Difficulty Sleeping

One or all of these deviated septum symptoms can contribute to great difficulty sleeping. You know the frustration of trying to sleep when you’re heavily congested. Now imagine that condition nearly every time you lay your head on a pillow. A deviated septum can cause you to lose sleep and that can make you irritable. More critically, a deviated symptom can contribute to sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder and can prove fatal.

Get Relief from a Deviated Septum

The good news with a deviated septum is that it can be surgically repaired. Our Utah ENT doctors perform rhinoplasties (nose jobs) on a regular basis and can help diagnose, treat and repair your deviated septum. Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to learn more.

Read: 3 Reasons to Get a Nose Job

Sleep apnea linked to cancer

Study Reveals Sleep Apnea Increases Cancer Risks

Sleep apnea is a common problem in America: nearly 30 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea or gaps in breathing while sleeping.

It’s already well established that sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, depression and heart disease.

Now researchers have discovered a link between sleep apnea and cancer. In fact, sleep apnea sufferers may be up to 5 times more likely to die from cancer of any kind. True.

Read: What is Sleep Apnea

Dr. Javier Nieto, chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, studied more than 1,500 people and 22 years of data from the Wisconsin Sleep Study and identified the link between apnea and cancer.

“Clearly, there is a correlation, and we are a long way from proving that sleep apnea causes cancer or contributes to its growth,” says Nieto, an expert in sleep epidemiology. “But animal studies have shown that the intermittent hypoxia (an inadequate supply of oxygen) that characterizes sleep apnea promotes angiogenesis-increased vascular growth – and tumor growth. Our results suggest that SDB is also associated with an increased risk of cancer mortality in humans.”

Simple translation: people with severe sleep apnea tend to have less oxygen in their systems and grow more blood vessels that feed all cells–including cancerous cells.

The Wisconsin researchers discovered that people with severe sleep-disordered breathing died of cancer at a rate 4.8 times higher than people with no sleep-breathing problems.

While additional studies are needed to replicate the study results, Dr. Nieto states, “Sleep apena is a serious problem that needs to be treated if you have it and this [information] is one more reason to worry about it.”

Watch ABC News Report about Cancer and Sleep Apnea

Learn More about Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is indeed a serious condition and one that deserves serious attention. Our Ear, Nose and Throat doctors in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah regularly diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Our advice is that if you or a sleeping partner recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor to ensure you receive the care you need.

There are also procedures and therapies that can cure or at least help you manage the symptoms of sleep apena. One of the most common sleep apnea treatments is the use of a Nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which is essentially a mask that fits over your nose and blows in air to keep the airway tissues open while you sleep.

Another recent development is the use of da Vinci robotic surgery to help cure sleep apnea. Our own Dr. Pramod Sharma is one of few Utah sleep apnea doctors who perform the procedure that can eliminate sleep apnea completely–without visible scarring.

Read: Robotic Surgery Can Help Cure Sleep Apnea

man sleeping soundly after robotic sleep apnea surgery

Robotic Surgery for Sleep Apnea

Quick. Hold your breath for 10 seconds. Now breathe in. Hold your breath again for 20 seconds. Now breathe in. Repeat all night long.

That’s what it’s like for people with sleep apnea. Each night they go to sleep and often have no idea that they stop breathing multiple times each hour or, in really bad cases, multiple times each minute.

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder and a potentially life-threatening condition. Some physicians even refer to sleep apnea as the “silent killer.” Yet many people with sleep apnea are unaware they actually have sleep apnea. And that can lead to ongoing problems including elevated blood pressure, increased risk for stroke, headaches, chronic feelings of sleepiness, dizziness and irritability.

Fortunately, robotic surgery can help cure sleep apnea. Best of all, robotic sleep apnea surgery eliminates the need for a tracheotomy, which leaves a visible scar on the patient’s neck.

Ear, Nose and Throat Center Exclusively Offers Robotic Sleep Apnea Surgery

Recognizing the need for sleep apnea solutions, the Ear, Nose and Throat Center embraced robotic surgery and are the first to offer da Vinci robotic sleep apnea surgery for our patients in Utah and surrounding states. The robotic surgery is a proven approach that can actually cure sleep apnea and allow patients to breathe easily for the first time in years.

“The da Vinci Robotic Surgery system allows me to perform sleep apnea surgery with a great level of precision,” says Dr. Pramod Sharma, an ENT doctor with the Ear, Nose and Throat Center of Salt Lake City. “We can precisely repair throat tissue that may cause obstructive sleep apnea and eliminate sleep apnea completely without visible scarring.”

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue in the throat collapses during sleep and constricts the flow of air through the throat. In other words, sleep apnea sufferers are literally choking themselves each night. As a result, breathing starts and stops all night long.

“We’ve seen patients who stop breathing nearly once or twice every minute,” continues Dr. Sharma, “While others may sleep soundly for a few hours, then stop breathing for up to a minute or longer.”

Watch Video about Robotic Sleep Apnea Surgery

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center for Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Diagnosing sleep apnea is the first step. If you or a sleeping partner suspects you may have sleep apnea symptoms, we encourage you to visit an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to diagnose sleep apnea. Typically, diagnosis begins with an overnight sleep study where your sleeping patterns are closely monitored and observed. In many cases, it only takes a few minutes of sleep to recognize sleep apnea.

Read: How the ENT Center Diagnoses Sleep Apnea

Once your diagnosis is complete, we’ll explore your options, which may initially include a nighttime breathing machine known as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine or CPAP. This requires patients to wear a facemask that is connected to a tube and device that pumps air into your nose and mouth. We may also explore robotic sleep apnea surgery, if necessary.

Read: How the ENT Center Treats Sleep Apnea

Most important, understand that sleep apnea is a serious condition but a condition that can be cured through robotic surgery or other methods.

woman covering ears from snoring man

Pillar Procedure Helps People Stop Snoring

No one likes a snorer. Whether you’re the person who snores or the person who shares a bed or even a room with a snorer, chronic snoring is tough on everyone.

Snoring is a common problem. In fact, more than 37 million Americans are chronic snorers.

Read the facts about snoring

Utah’s dry climate can contribute to snoring. Many people in Salt Lake City use humidifiers in their rooms to moisten the air and try to stop snoring. But for some people, these simple remedies just don’t work.

You’ve tried humidifiers.

You’ve tried over-the-counter stop-snoring treatments like Breathe Right strips.

You’ve tried to sleep on your side or change your sleeping position.

Still you’re wondering how to stop snoring.

The good news is that a surgery exists that can help you stop snoring (or at least dramatically reduce how often you snore and the intensity of your snoring).

It’s called the Pillar Procedure and many of our patients in Salt Lake City and Draper have already realized the benefits of this simple procedure that boasts an 80-percent success rate in helping people stop snoring.

Benefits of Pillar Procedure

The Pillar Procedure works well for most patients and our Utah Ear, Nose and Throat doctors specialize in helping Utah snorers stop snoring. The outpatient Pillar Procedure surgery can be performed in 20 minutes under local anesthesia in your doctor’s office. The doctor will implant three small polyester rods into the soft palate. Over time, the implants help support and stiffen the soft palate. The result is that the supportive rods or implants reduce the tissue vibration that can cause snoring. They can also help with elimination of obstructive sleep apnea.

Learn more about the Pillar Procedure

Learn about how the ENT Center diagnoses sleep apnea

Watch a Video that Explains the Pillar Procedure

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Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center for Snoring Treatments

The physicians at the Ear, Nose and Throat Center can perform the Pillar Procedure and help you stop snoring. The Pillar Procedure is effective and most snorers realize:

  • Decrease in intensity of snoring (that allows everyone to breather easier and sleep deeper)
  • Less daytime sleepiness and drowsiness
  • Happier and more rested sleeping partners

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to set your appointment and learn more about the Pillar Procedure, snoring and sleep apnea.